Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy Wall Street #2

Bumped and updated 10/15/11.

First off, there were so many stories in so many forums, of the protesting all across the globe that it will be hard to attribute some of the numbers and cities to the articles where they came from. But, I will do my best.

From Los Angeles:

Marchers carried signs reading "Corporations are not people" and "Trickledown made us pee-ons."
LOL. That last one is funny!

Courtesy of CBS News:

In Frankfurt, continental Europe's financial hub, some 5,000 people protested at the European Central Bank, and some were setting up a tent camp aiming at permanently occupying the green space in front of the ECB building.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange spoke to about 500 demonstrators outside St. Paul's cathedral in London, calling the international banking system a "recipient of corrupt money."

U.K. police contained most London demonstrators in the streets around the cathedral, near the city's financial district. Protesters erected tents and asked supporters to bring them blankets, food and water as they settled down for the evening.

Several hundreds more marched in the German cities of Berlin, Cologne and Munich and the Austrian capital of Vienna, while protesters in Zurich, Switzerland's financial hub, carried banners reading "We won't bail you out yet again" and "We are the 99 percent."

Protests were held in Helsinki, Madrid, Lisbon, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Berlin, Zurich, Hamburg, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Athens, London ....

This from Reuters:

In Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city, 3,000 people chanted and banged drums, denouncing corporate greed.

About 200 gathered in the capital Wellington and 50 in a park in the earthquake-hit southern city of Christchurch.

In Sydney, about 2,000 people, including representatives of Aboriginal groups, communists and trade unionists, protested outside the central Reserve Bank of Australia.

Hundreds marched in Tokyo, including anti-nuclear protesters. In Manila a few dozen marched on the U.S. embassy waving banners reading: "Down with U.S. imperialism" and "Philippines not for sale."

More than 100 people gathered at the Taipei stock exchange, chanting "we are Taiwan's 99 percent," and saying economic growth had only benefited companies while middle-class salaries barely covered soaring housing, education and health care costs.


In Paris protests coincided with the G20 finance chiefs' meeting there. In the working class neighborhood of Belleville, drummers, trumpeters and a tuba revved up a crowd of a few hundred that began to march to the city hall.

From NY Daily News:

Solidarity hero Lech Walesa is flying to New York to show his support for the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

"How could I not respond," Walesa told a Polish newspaper Wednesday. "The thousands of people gathered near Wall Street are worried about the fate of their future, the fate of their country. This is something I understand."

A former shipyard worker who led Poland's successful revolt against Soviet communism, Walesa said "capitalism is in crisis" and not just in America.

"This is a worldwide problem," he told the Lublin-based Dziennik Wschodni newspaper. "The Wall Street protesters have focused a magnifying glass on the problem."

But, we are still dealing with the police run amok over these protests.

From AmericaBlog:

On the other hand, corporate America is going to be bombarded in another way, by a new site called Occupy the Board Room.

Today, you, the 99%, can make your voice heard directly to the Wall Street elites who wrecked the economy and made the rest of us pay. Find a pen pal below and tell them a story that explains why they need to listen to you after acting for so many years like your words don't matter.

Rather than bumping my older post to the front page and adding the new stuff, you can read the older post by clicking to it, and I'll add my updates to this part two.

When this thing started out in New York on Wall Street, it was a rag tag group of people that, seriously, many on the left through their blogs, were quite skeptical of. Only a few hundred people, no real manifesto so to speak, blah, blah, blah. A lot of liberals had grown tired of the demonstrating the past few years as (1) media never covered it and (2) nothing was ever accomplished.

I don't know if I was ever in that group. I've always been supportive or protesting, even if it goes nowhere. Yes, there is the disappointment that after all that work, you go home and are depressed, but persistence pays off, and for the most part, over the last couple of years, there has been a lack of persistence with respect to protesting.

We saw a difference in Wisconsin, where persistence was beginning to pay off. In the end, Walker still passed his laws, but what followed were the recall elections (and Walker is still waiting for his). Court challenges followed. There was a bit of change in what Walker thought was going to be a cakewalk of dismantling the public sector and replacing it with his own private cronies. And Walker was but one of many governors that followed an eerily similar blueprint that was obviously orchestrated by people like the Koch brothers and others that are part of the 1%.

Occupy Wall Street morphed into Occupy Your Street (insert town) to the 99%. They are one in the same in that the protestors are the 99% that have been left out of any profits earned in the last few years, are part of the people fired by the 1% that kept making money by the firing, are part of the college graduates that are up to their ears in debt but can't get a job because of the 1% only paying shit wages so they can keep more of their 1%, and they are the millions who have lost their homes thanks to the 1% (some of whom not only profited by creating the housing bubble, but have actually picked up foreclosed homes and gloated about it, including one of the Republican candidates for POTUS job). For far too long this has been going on, and because our politicians are the puppets whose strings have been being pulled by the 1%, including both parties, but now even more so thanks to the SCOTUS' Citizens United ruling, you'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to see something like Occupy Wall Street happen. When even Obama refuses to prosecute the bad guys (well, who couldn't see that coming when he refused to prosecute the bad guys from the Bush administration over the two wars we are in, the unlawful surveillance of American citizens, etc. - hell, Obama agrees with the Bush administration's practices as we have all found out by now), and kept throwing good money at bad money, the 99% finally found their voice.

The big news of course, has been the police brutality all across the nation, attacking the protestors with their batons and spraying them with tear gas. Never mind the fact that there are videos of this everywhere, as usual, the press (which are owned by the 1%) gloss over it, make light of it, blame the protestors as being hippie, 1960's anti-war like, (and that's the mild stuff, because they are also being called anti-American and a lot of disgusting untrue analogous references to the Vietnam era protestors), thus resulting in a "movement" that has no cohesion, therefore is deserving of the dismissive attitude by media.

The line being drawn in the sand was supposed to be Friday's clearing out of the Zuccotti Park by Mayor Bloomberg, ostensibly to "clean it up" but we all knew it was to get a foothold into the park and thereby not allow the people back in. They (the owners of the park and Bloomberg) have backed down it seems. This from AmericaBlog:

Late last night, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Brookfield Properties, the owners of Zuccotti Park, backed down from their attempt to evict #OccupyWallStreet. MoveOn shot a great video of the protesters getting the news and their reaction.
I was in Chicago on Monday and although did not see the protests on Sunday, I saw the Robin Hood protestors in their boats going up the river with their signs. Also, being in Los Angeles, our mayor has even issued a proclamation allowing the protestors here to remain on city property, and there have been no arrests or beatings like in New York, Portland and other areas. I'm not a fan of our mayor, but at least he's got some sense of what is going on across the country and he's not about to get besmirched by reacting negatively.

Here's how the police do it in Seattle:

SEATTLE - Police experimented with a new tactic Friday night as they responded to a weeklong Occupy Seattle demonstration at Westlake Park - ticketing drivers who honked in support of protesters.
Yeah, that will stop the protestors, you morons. Honking in support of protestors is what people who drive by in their cars have done since I can remember! But now, that's a ticket, a tactic that these boneheads think will thwart support for OWS! And just what do the police anywhere think is wrong with OWS anyway? They are most certainly not part of the 1% and don't they realize that this movement represents THEM as well?

San Francisco police join in the fray.

Still, it doesn't seem like the police are handling these protests very well. Not to mention, when the Teabaggers were just as belligerent during the Democratic health care town halls - and mind you, there were members of Congress present - the cops never reacted like this.

Occupy Wall Street is like the kid in the fairy story saying what everyone knows but is afraid to say: the emperor has no clothes. The system is broken. Think about the promise of global market capitalism. If we let the system work, if we let the rich get richer, if we let corporations focus on profit, if we let pollution go unpriced and unchecked, then we will all be better off. It may not be equally distributed, but the poor will get less poor, those who work hard will get jobs, those who study hard will get better jobs and we’ll have enough wealth to fix the environment.

“What we now have — most extremely in the U.S. but pretty much everywhere — is the mother of all broken promises,” Gilding adds. “Yes, the rich are getting richer and the corporations are making profits — with their executives richly rewarded. But, meanwhile, the people are getting worse off — drowning in housing debt and/or tuition debt — many who worked hard are unemployed; many who studied hard are unable to get good work; the environment is getting more and more damaged; and people are realizing their kids will be even worse off than they are. This particular round of protests may build or may not, but what will not go away is the broad coalition of those to whom the system lied and who have now woken up. It’s not just the environmentalists, or the poor, or the unemployed. It’s most people, including the highly educated middle class, who are feeling the results of a system that saw all the growth of the last three decades go to the top 1 percent.”

Courtesy of Thomas L. Friedman's OpEd piece, There's Something Happening Here.

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